The Stuff of Dreams: a performance lecture

Sally Madge

September 19th, Sally Madge gave a performance lecture as part of Mapping the Return. Blurring boundaries between fact and fiction, the artist recounted her explorations of the sites and spaces of public and private institutions: the library, the museum, the kitchen, the studio … The artist as adventurer and collector attempted to construct a personal taxonomy from these experiences, choreographing encounters and engagements with people, events, materials and artefacts. This “return to the philosophers’ table” utilised her personal archive of objects, anecdotes, jokes and theoretical citations to investigate ways in which an autoethnographic position might be developed within the flow of these phenomena.

This was a surreal assemblage of humour and critique which incorporated the messy business of individual subjectivity into the research process and outcome. Objects acted as ‘verbal props’ representing nexus points for particular concerns about how the history and development of systems of knowledge affect our understanding and experience. A reassessment of the provenance and display of museum exhibits was generated, propelling them beyond fixed and materially-bound contexts and questioning assumptions about the nature of collections and conservation.

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